Curse of Strahd

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Curse of Strahd is a very established (voted most popular) campaign setting with a horror theme for DnD 5e written by Tracy and Laura Hickman that I have adapted in order to enhance certain aspects of the adventure/story.

  • Levels: 1-15
  • Milestone XP/lvls

DM notes:


This article contains SPOILERS! Continue read at risk of spoiling the experience for yourself.
(Though spoilers are marked as such)


  • Make a character on the DnD Beyond
  • Level 1
  • All official sources are ok - if unsure: check
  • Point buy abilities
  • Automatic hit points
  • You gain one additional feat of your choice
  • If you start from early game, choose 3 Grants of Aid (can choose the same multiple times) that you'll receive after aiding Daggerford and agreeing to aid the area further still:
    • (Ducal of Daggerford) - 1 weapon silvered by the local blacksmith (or 20 pieces of ammunition)
    • (Ducal of Daggerford) - 1 potion of Greater Healing
    • (Order of the Gauntlet) - 1 potion of Heroism
    • (The Harpers) - 1 scroll of Remove Curse (or choose freely any 1st lvl spell scroll)
    • (Emerald Enclave) - Pouch with 4 Infused Belladonna Berries:
      • Effects starts at the beginning of your next turn and lasts 1 hour
      • Advantage on any saves against the curse of lycanthropy
      • If you ingest a berry while infected by lycanthropy but before you have turned into a werewolf for the first time, you immediately get one additional save against the curse
      • If you or an ally kills a werewolf while the berry's effect is active, you gain Inspiration
    • (The Retinue) - Pouch with 4 vials of Holy Water
    • (Lord's alliance) - 1 scroll of magic weapon (or choose freely any 1st lvl spell scroll)
    • (Black Network) - Pouch with 4 vials of Low Quality Serpent Venom (2d6 instead of 3 and unsellable)
  • If you start mid-campaign, discuss what uncommon/rare item(s) you may have with DM and "essentially any" mundane items.
  • Try to keep background connected to another player's character or a little bit open-ended to make it easy to tie appropriate details together later

Please note

  • Don't accept to play if you are not comfortable with horror-y themes, which include death, undead, body horror and the like. DO inform clearly if there are any themes you want to exclude before starting!
  • The people of this campaign setting only very rarely meet characters of other races than human and a (very) few elves, so anything other than that WILL be very noticed and in some cases seen as unwelcome guest in the lands.
  • The area is fairly low magic in the settlements and it may be hard to get supplies at times.
  • Not everything that looks evil is evil and not everything that looks good is good. But it's a sort of good indicator.
  • Just because you are ALLOWED to be a damphir does not mean it's a good idea. Could be interesting or could be a pain.
  • Having at least ONE character with atleast limited healing and/or divine skills is useful - not a requirement.
  • Not everything that looks dead is undead.
  • If Blinsky is not involved, there is no fun to be had.

House Rules

House rules relating to CoS specifically.

Channelled Boon

At times, you will gain a small boon from residual powers in Barovia, a so called Channelled Boon. When gained, choose from:

  • Reroll; stays, stacks with inspiration and can be used on the same roll
  • Healing; immediately gain 2d8 + lvl healing
  • Protection; immediately gain 1d8 + lvl temporary hit points

The section below contains spoilers.

Show spoilers

Tooth Components

Defeating some foes and later sacrificing a pristine tooth extracted from their maws can aid some spellcasting.

See: Tooth Components

Barovian Sleep

In Barovia, the norm is to have nightmares dominate your sleep. On a Long Rest you make a Wisdom save DC 20. On a fail, you have Barovian Weakness until you take another Long Rest. Barovian Weakness comes in severity levels, depending on the failure result. It will reduce your HP max, you may regain fewer HD and you may feel heady (poisoned) for a duration. If the severity level indicates you regain fewer HD, you regain at least one less than usual and if you would regain fewer than you gain, you instead lose HD. If you have no HD to lose, roll for each HD you can't lose to instead lose that many HP from your current pool. This does not reduce your current HP below 1 and doesn't reduce your max HP limit further than the severity level.

If Barovian Sleep cause your HP max being less than 1 it's instead 1 and you gain a level of Exhaustion in addition to any other effects. Either havign the effect from a weakness level or reaching the 6th level of Exhaustion from these effects still grant you one last chance to survive as you instead go unconscious and become dying, making a Death Saving throw every 10 minutes until you stabilize or die. If your Exhaustion level was higher than 6, instead increase the DC by +1 for every point above 6. Any Medicine check to stabilize also takes 10 minutes of continued care.

Over time, you will acclimatise yourself with the discomfort, nightmares, and the dreary surroundings. Add a bonus to the roll of +1 for each long rest that you have experienced these nightmares in Barovia.

Rolling a natural 20 is an automatic success even if it wouldn't reach DC20.

Rolling a natural 1 increases the Barovian Weakness level by 2 steps, but it's never better than Weakness lvl 2.

One may find ways to gain shielding from all of these effects and gain better nights' sleep.

Weakness lvl Result Max HP HD Poisoned Other
Success! 20+ 100% n/a n/a n/a
I 18-19 -1hp/lvl n/a 1 min n/a
II 16-17 -2hp/lvl -1 15 min n/a
III 13-15 -2hp/lvl -1 30 min n/a
IV 10-12 -3hp/lvl -1/4 1h n/a
V 7-9 -3hp/lvl -1/2 3h n/a
VI 5-6 -4hp/lvl -1/2 6h n/a
VII 5-6 -4hp/lvl -3/4 8h n/a
VIII 4 -4hp/lvl -3/4 10h Exhaustion +1
IX 3 -5hp/lvl -All 12h Exhaustion +1
X 2 -5hp/lvl -All 14h Exhaustion +2
XI 1 -6hp/lvl -All 16h Exhaustion +3
XII 0 -7hp/lvl -All 20h Exhaustion +4
XIII <0 -100% -All 24h Dying,
Exhaustion +5

Removing the Barovian Weakness or conditions can be done in a few ways:

  • Lesser Restoration reduces the severity by one level
    • +1 lvl per Tooth Component
    • +3 per Greater Tooth Component
  • Greater Restoration removes the entire condition
  • A Short Rest reduces the severity by one level
  • Getting drunk reduces severity by one level
  • Eating a Dream Pie reduces severity by three levels
  • A Long Rest removes the entire condition (but you roll again)

Lost or non-regained HP or HD are not restored when removing the condition, just removes the cap on max HP and alters the poisoned duration.

Remove Lycanthropy

In Barovia, the curse of Lycanthropy isn't as easy to cure as elsewhere. Remove Curse will turn any shape-changed beast into humans and then supress its Lycanthropy for 2d6 days. They will still feel the curse there, just out of reach, and know it will re-establish itself in a while. Remove Curse can permanently remove Lycanthropy if three Greater Tooth Components are used as material compnents in the casting or in subsequent castings while the curse is supressed.

Greater Restoration works as normal without the need for any material components.


House Rules* & Roleplaying nav.. (e)


RP Intro
DnD 5e
Pathfinder 2e
DnD 3.5





Hero Points
Magic items

New Concepts



Kingdom creation



CoS 2
CoS 1
Coin & Blood



Death Attack
Magic (D20)*
  Residue Table*
Magic residue
  Rogue talent
Spell Trickery
Skill bonus
Skill training*
Damage Conversion